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AMR-US Airways merger hearing set for next month

NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal bankruptcy court will consider approving the merger of American Airlines and US Airways during a hearing on March 27.

AMR and US Airways Group Inc. announced last week that they plan to merge in a deal valued at $11 billion in stock. It would create the world's biggest airline, with slightly more passenger traffic than United Airlines.

Judge Sean Lane on Thursday approved the date for the hearing in New York. Lane has been handling the bankruptcy case of American and its parent, AMR Corp.

The deal also requires the approval of U.S. antitrust regulators and company shareholders. The companies expect to close the merger by the end of September.

Separately, leaders of the pilot unions at both airlines met Thursday with US Airways executives, including CEO Doug Parker, who will run the combined company. Both unions support the merger.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American's pilots, said that the US Airways executives "acknowledged the need to create a new corporate culture and to build trust and credibility" between management and employees.